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Sports

Bundesliga Matchday 12: Top five talking points

On another intriguing matchday in Germany's top division, Dortmund's shoddy defense, the rise of Serge Gnabry and Hamburg slowly turning their form around all feature in the Bundesliga talking points.

Douglas Costa adds much-needed bite to Bayern

Bayern Munich went a long way to calming the growing hoard of fans disgruntled with coach Carlo Ancelotti with a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Although some of Bayern's play was labored at times, it was the performance of Brazilian winger Douglas Costa that really caught the eye.

While the likes of Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski continued to stumble through their poor run of form, Costa dazzled down the left with darting runs, clever dribbles and crosses that caused problems for the Leverkusen defense.

Following on from his Champions League goal midweek against Rostov, the 26-year old was at times the sole creator of chances for Bayern against a Leverkusen team that very nearly left Munich with a point.

Dortmund's defence continues to let the team down

Although Dortmund were well-beaten in most areas of the pitch on Saturday, the two goals they conceded in Frankfurt were more evidence that coach Thomas Tuchel needs to sort out his defense. His team rarely struggle to score goals, but they clearly have a genuine problem at the back.

Add both goals on Saturday to the four Dortmund shipped in mid-week to Legia Warsaw and the two to Hamburg a week before that and it's clear that the renowned tactician still isn't comfortable with his back line. And until he finds a working solution, Dortmund may continue to struggle to keep up with the leading pack.

Kovac deserves the same praise as higher-profile coaches

Frankfurt's emphatic 2-1 win over Dortmund was probably the game of the weekend but it was by no means a huge surprise. Niko Kovac's team have already downed equally impressive sides at the Waldstadion including Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen and Cologne, as well as claiming draws against Hertha Berlin and Bayern.

The Eagles are quietly going about their business and the win pushed them up to third. A truly remarkable feat considering just seven months ago Frankfurt were on the verge of being relegated as they fought for their lives in the playoffs. Given the intense media interest in RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl and Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann over the past 12 months, it may be time we start to consider Kovac in a similar vein.

Holtby and Müller dragging Hamburg back to form

Although Hamburg would have ultimately preferred three points, there were plenty of positives to take from the 2-2 draw with Bremen. Two of the most notable ones were Lewis Holtby and Nicolai Müller, who have been driving the team's efforts to turn the season around in recent weeks.

Holtby's assist for the opening goal for Michael Gregoritsch was his third in Hamburg's last two Bundesliga games, while Müller's assist for the striker's second goal complimented the three goals he'd scored in the two games prior to Saturday.

Two points from their last three games may not look like much on paper, but Markus Gisdol's side at least look as though they're heading in the right direction. And that's in no small part down to these two players.

Gnabry quickly becoming Mr Bremen

This weekend's Nordderby certainly lived up to its billing, with an exciting exchange between two clubs desperate not only to beat their local rivals but to also pick up three vital points. Although Hamburg were perhaps the better team, one player that stood out and ultimately ended up saving a point for his side was Serge Gnabry.

With a strong run and tidy finish, the former Arsenal starlet evened up the scoring on the stroke of half time and won an invaluable point for his side. The goal was the 21-year-old's fifth of the season as he continues to play a vital role in Bremen's battle against relegation as well as raise questions about Arsene Wenger's decision to let him go.